Expats Gather at Syrian Embassy in Beirut for Early Voting in Presidential Election

Syrian expatriates began casting their votes at foreign embassies on May 20 in a presidential election observers say is all but guaranteed to return the incumbent, Bashar al-Assad.

Lebanese security forces were deployed to the Syrian Embassy outside Beirut on Thursday, as hundreds gathered to cast their vote ahead of the May 26 election.

Local reporter Kareem Chehayeb, who posted this footage, said the Lebanese Army were struggling to control the crowd, “who are shoving each other to get into the embassy”.

“It looks like the crowds stretch over a mile away,” he wrote on Twitter.

In 2014, Assad secured 88.7 percent of the vote. In this election, he is running against Abdullah Salloum Abdullah and Mahmoud Ahmad Marie.

The United States said it would refuse to accept any result, unless the election was free and fair, and supervised by the UN. However, the UN has said, “The election has been called under the auspices of the current Constitution & is not part of the political process established by SC resolution 2254.”

Security council resolution 2254 calls for a new Syrian constitution and free elections. Credit: Kareem Chehayeb via Storyful